Frostbiting Recap Week 3 2018-2019

In Frostbiting by Caitlyn Ridgely

Week 3 is officially in the books!  This week we learned that forecasts are not always accurate, and that patience is key.  Heading into Saturday’s racing, the forecast did not look good.  The NWS was calling for NW winds at 5 kts, eventually becoming NE at 5 kts.  Most hourly forecasts had winds dropping to 0 knots (gusting to 3) from the hours of 12-3.  It was not a good sign for anyone interested in sailing.  In the morning there was still decent breeze around 10-15 kts, but by the time most of the fleet was arriving, the flag was hanging limp.  There was no wind to be found anywhere.  Our friends in the other fleet had left the dock at 11am, and they were only moving due to the current.

We decided to delay for thirty minutes, and have a skippers meeting at noon.  Many in the fleet opted to not rig prior to this, because the odds of actually sailing were seriously low.  A very nice thing about last Saturday was that the sun was out., and it was actually quite warm (for December).  And since that sun was out for so long, the warm air over the land started to rise.  That allowed the cool air over the ocean to come blowing in, and at 11:57 a sea breeze developed out of the SE, and we went sailing.
Since it was a sea breeze, the wind was blowing straight down the harbor towards Pier 4.  In the harbor that day was also a tug and barge anchored right in the middle.  We were forced to set our course in a different location than usual.  The line was set just south of Pier 1 East Boston, with the RC boat anchored just at the edge of the ferry lane in front of Lewis Wharf.  Because of the light winds, and also the thought that the breeze could die at any second, the course was a little shorter than usual.  The wind was fairly consistent, and even picked up in velocity a little as the day went on.  There were some small shifts all day, but it was nothing like the 60 degree shifts we saw in Week 2.
The big issues this week was the current.  With all the rain that had previously fallen, and more rain on the way on Sunday, they were draining quite a lot of the Charles River into the harbor.  If you went to the west side of the pier, you could see just how strong the current was as it flowed around the pilings.  That issue coupled with an outgoing tide at max ebb made for some interesting conditions.  Upwind legs went very quickly, as the current provided another couple of knots.  But downwind legs were slow, and many people opted to sail far away from the rhumb line in order to get into shallower water.
Due to the postponement, and also a long upwind sail to get to the course, Race 1 started at 12:49.  Three boats were OCS at the start.  One was pushed over early, but the other two had sailed too far up the course when the sequence started.  With the strong current pushing against them they were about 10 seconds too late and had to duck the line before restarting.  Once the fleet had rounded the windwards, they had to decide whether they wanted to head towards the East Boston shoreline to escape the current, or sail closer to the rhumb line.  Michael McAllister and Annya Tischer decided to do the former, and they were the first to round ahead of Chip Terry/Dave Lucia and Steve Uhl/Rebecca Mount.  The second time around Bryan Lee/AnneMarije Veenland-Lee managed to pass Uhl/Mount to jump into 3rd, but McAllister/Tischer held on to their lead to take the bullet.
Despite the short course, Race 1 took 45 minutes to complete.  During that race, we received word on the radio that there were two tankers coming, one inbound and one outbound.  Also fun was the fact that they would be passing each other right where our starting line was set.  As Race 1 was finishing, tanker #1 had already cleared the McArdle bridge and was headed our way.  We would not be able to squeeze in another race.  We picked up the course and sent the fleet to the East Boston shore.  After about 10 minutes of sailing in circles, tanker #1 had cleared our course and was headed out.  However tanker #2 was moving slowly.  Very slowly.  We were forced to wait another 10-15 minutes until that ship was clear.  But once she was out of the way, we were able to start racing again.  I want to take a second and thank everyone for being very accommodating and very understanding.  Sometimes it can be frustrating to have to wait so long, but everyone was great and followed instructions perfectly.  Also, both harbor pilots thanked us personally for staying out of the way.  So thank you.
For Race 2 we decided to run Course 2, which is just one lap of the course.  We decided to do this because it was already 2:05 and we had only completed one race.  Manlio Lopez/Cole Constantineau had a great start, as did Zack/Mike O’Brien.  During the tanker delay, the wind increased in velocity a bit, and it appeared the current was lessening.  This race turned out to be a fairly quick trip around the buoys, and Terry/Lucia were the ones to do it the quickest.  They finished ahead of Eric, Kirsten, Minna and Gunnar Goethart (henceforth known as Team Goethart) in 2nd, and McAllister/Tischer in 3rd.
The current was still very much a factor in Race 3, as most of the fleet was pushed OCS at the start.  There was a general recall and the I flag was then flown, meaning that the 1-minute rule is in effect.  When that flat is up, please remember that when a boat is OCS anytime within the last minute of the sequence, they will be hailed as such, and must round an end of the course (boat or pin) in order to clear themselves.  Simply ducking the line is not enough.  There were a few boats that found this out the hard way, unfortunately.  RC will usually always fly the I flag after a general recall and may keep it up the rest of the day.  Also we decided to switch back to a course 4, since the previous race finished so quickly.  Zach and Mike O’Brien were the first to round the lewards and went left, followed by Art Rousmaniere/Cindy Olsen.  McAllister/Tischer rounded in 3rd and opted to go right.  However, they were not able to catch the other two as the O’Briens took the bullet.
Race 4 started at 2:45, right as the other fleet was heading back in.  The boats that went to the right side at the start were forced to navigate around 12 spinnakers and may have lost some time.  Terry/Lucia rounded the leewards first with a lead of 5 boat lengths.  Behind them was a very tight group consisting of Lee/Veenland-Lee, Rousmaniere/Olsen and Jen Bodde/Dylan Callahan.  Rousmaniere/Olsen managed to fight their way in and sneak ahead of the other two.  They would finish in 2nd ahead of Lee/Veenland-Lee, but no one could catch Terry/Lucia who picked up their second bullet of the day.  Usually this would be our last race of the day as the SIs state that we cannot start a race after 3pm.  However there is an option to push that to 3:30 if there have been significant delays.  Considering we had two delays, one for wind and one for tankers, we opted for one last race.
Race 5 saw good starts by Lopez/Constantineau, Bodde/Callahan and Nick Ferrara/John Holt.  At the leewards it was Rousmaniere/Olsen ahead of Matt Marston/Cheney Brand and Niko Kotsatos/Carolyn Marsh.  All three boats would go left.  Team Goethart rounded in 4th and decided to go right.  Ultimately it would not pay off for them as Terry/Lucia were able to jump up a spot into fourth in that race.  Taking the bullet was Rousmaniere/Olsen.  After starting the day with two 7th place finishes, they would finish the day going 2, 2 and 1.  Unfortunately it would not be enough to catch Terry/Lucia who finished with 15 total points on the day.  The top 3 boats never finished worse than 7th on the day.  Pretty impressive!
All in all it was a great day of racing, especially when considering the fact that everyone was ready to go home at 11:55.  We learned that patience is key, and that mother nature is always full of surprises.  It’s also rare that those surprises turn out to be pleasant ones, so we were especially lucky this past week.  Also there were no protests, which is always a good thing.  Congrats to our top 5 finishers on the day…
  • Chip Terry and Dave Lucia – 15 points
  • Art Rousmaniere and Cindy Olsen – 19 points
  • Michael McAllister and Annya Tischer – 20 points
  • The Goethart Family – 28 points
  • Niko Kotsatos and Carolyn Marsh – 28 points
You can check out all of the scores here and don’t forget our crew list.  On Friday I tried sending out the link to the folder with all of the FB documents but was told by a few people that it wasn’t working.  I’m trying again, and hopefully this time, it works.
A big thank you to everyone who came out.  We’re so happy that we actually got to go sailing.  Cancelling racing on a day where there is sun and temperatures in the 40’s is pretty heartbreaking.  Thankfully that was not the case.  Currently the weather for next week is looking good, albeit a bit more chilly.  But we’ll take a closer look at the forecast in the Week 4 preview on Friday.  Until then, have a great week!
Nate and the Courageous Frostbite Team